“The Eighty-Yard Run” by Irwin Shaw
The pass was high and wide and he jumped for it, feeling it slap flatly against his hands, as he shook his hips to throw off the halfback who was diving at him. The center floated by, his hands desperately brushing Darling’s knee as Darling picked his feet up high and delicately ran over a blocker and an opposing linesman in a jumble on the ground near the scrimmage line. He had ten yards in the clear and picked up speed, breathing easily, feeling his thigh pads rising and falling against his legs, listening to the sound of cleats behind him, pulling away from them, watching the other backs heading him off toward the sideline, the whole picture, the men closing in on him, the blockers fighting for position, the ground he had to cross, all suddenly clear in his head, for the first time in his life not a meaningless confusion of men, sounds, speed. He smiled a little to himself as he ran, holding the ball lightly in front of him with his two hands, his knees pumping high, his hips twisting in the almost girlish run of a back in a broken field. The first halfback came at him and he fed him his leg, then swung at the last moment, took the shock of the man’s shoulders without breaking stride, ran right through him, his cleats biting securely into the turf. There was only the safety man now, coming warily at him, his arms crooked, hands spread. Darling tucked the ball in, spurted at him, driving hard, hurling himself along, all two hundred pounds bunched into controlled attack.
He was sure he was going to get past the safety man. Without thought, his arms and legs working beautifully together, he headed right for the safety man, stiff-armed him, feeling blood spurt instantaneously from the man’s nose onto his hand, seeing his face go awry, head turned, mouth pulled to one side. He pivoted away, keeping the arm locked, dropping the safety man as he ran easily toward the goal line, with the drumming of cleats diminishing behind him.
How long ago? It was autumn then, and the ground was getting hard because the nights were cold and leaves from the maples around the stadium blew across the practice fields in gusts of wind, and the girls were beginning to put polo coats over their sweaters when they came to watch practice in the afternoon. . . .
Fifteen years. Darling walked slowly over the same ground in the spring twilight, in his neat shoes, a man of thirty-five dressed in a doublebreasted suit, ten pounds heavier in the fifteen years, but not fat, with the years between 1925 and 1940 showing in his face.
The coach was smiling quietly to himself and the assistant coaches were looking at each other with pleasure the way they always did when one of the second stringers suddenly did something fine, bringing credit to them, making their $2,ooo a year a tiny bit more secure.
Darling trotted back, smiling, breathing deeply but easily, feeling wonderful, not tired, though this was the tail end of practice and he’d run eighty yards. The sweat poured off his face and soaked his jersey and he liked the feeling, the warm moistness lubricating his skin like oil. Off in a comer of the field some players were punting and the smack of leather against the ball came pleasantly through the afternoon air.
The freshmen were running signals on the next field and the quarterback’s sharp voice, the pound of the eleven pairs of cleats, the “Dig, now dig!” of the coaches, the laughter of the players all somehow made him feel happy as he trotted back to midfield, listening to the applause and shouts of the students along the sidelines, knowing that after that run the coach would have to start him Saturday against Illinois.
Fifteen years, Darling thought, remembering the shower after the workout, the hot water steaming off his skin and the deep soapsuds and all the young voices singing with the water streaming down and towels going and managers running in and out and the sharp sweet smell of oil of wintergreen and everybody clapping him on the back as he dressed and Packard, the captain, who took being captain very seriously, coming over to him and shaking his hand and saying, “Darling, you’re going to go places in the next two years.”
The assistant manager fussed over him, wiping a cut on his leg with alcohol and iodine, the little sting making him realize suddenly how fresh and whole and solid his body felt. The manager slapped a piece of adhesive tape over the cut, and Darling noticed the sharp clean white of the tape against the ruddiness of the skin, fresh from the shower.
He dressed slowly, the softness of his shirt and the soft warmth of his wool socks and his flannel trousers a reward against his skin after the harsh pressure of the shoulder harness and thigh and hip pads.
He drank three glasses of cold water, the liquid reaching down coldly inside of him, soothing the harsh dry places in his throat and belly left by the sweat and running and shouting of practice.
The sun had gone down and the sky was green behind the stadium and he laughed quietly to himself as he looked at the stadium, rearing above the trees, and knew that on Saturday when the _______voices roared as the team came running out onto the field, part of that enormous salute would be for him. He walked slowly, listening to the gravel crunch satisfactorily under his shoes in the still twilight, feeling his clothes swing lightly against his skin, breathing the thin evening air, feeling the wind move softly in his damp hair, wonderfully cool behind his ears and at the nape of his,neck.
Louise was waiting for him at the road, in her car. The top was down and he noticed all over again, as he always did when he saw her, how pretty she was, the rough blonde hair and the large, inquiring eyes and the bright mouth, smiling now.
She threw the door open. “Were you good today?” she asked.
“Pretty good,” he said. He climbed in, sank luxuriously into the soft leather, stretched his legs far out.
He smiled, thinking of the eighty yards. “Pretty damn good.”
She looked at him seriously for a moment, then scrambled around, like a little girl, kneeling on the seat next to him, grabbed him, her hands along his ears, and kissed him as he sprawled, head back, on the seat cushion. She let go of him, but kept her head close to his, over his. Darling reached up slowly and rubbed the back of his hand against her cheek, lit softly by a street lamp a hundred feet away. They looked at each other, smiling.
Louise drove down to the lake and they sat there silently, watching the moon rise behind the hills on the other side. Finally he reached over, pulled her gently to him, kissed her. Her lips grew soft, her body sank into his, tears formed slowly in her eyes. He knew, for the first time, that he could do whatever he wanted with her.
“Tonight,” he said. “I’ll call for you at seven-thirty. Can you get out?” She looked at him. She was smiling, but the tears were still full in her eyes. “All right,” she said. “I’ll get out. How about you? Won’t the coach raise hell?” Darling grinned. “I got the coach in the palm of my hand,” he said. “Can you wait till seven-thirty?” She grinned back at him. “No,” she said.
They kissed and she started the car and they went back to town for dinner. He sang on the way home.
Christian Darling, thirty-five years old, sat on the frail spring grass, greener now than it ever would be again on the practice field, looked thoughtfully up at the stadium, a deserted ruin in the twilight. He had started on the first team that Saturday and every Saturday after that for the next two years, but it had never been as satisfactory as it should have been. He never had broken away, the longest run he’d ever made was thirty-five yards, and that in a game that was already won, and then that kid had come up from the third team, Diederich, a blank-faced German kid from Wisconsin, who ran like a bull, ripping lines to pieces Saturday after Saturday, plowing through, never getting hurt, never changing his expression, scoring more points, gaining more ground than all the rest of the team put together, making everybody’s AllAmerican, carrying the ball three times out of four, keeping everybody else out of the headlines. Darling was a good blocker and he spent his Saturday afternoons working on the big Swedes and Polacks who played tackle and end for Michigan, Illinois, Purdue, hurling into huge pile-ups, bobbing his head wildly to elude the great raw hands swinging like meat-cleavers at him as he went charging in to open up holes for Diederich coming through like a locomotive behind him. Still, it wasn’t so bad. Everybody liked him and he did his job and he was pointed out on the campus and boys always felt important when they introduced their girls to him at their proms, and Louise loved him and watched him faithfully in the games, even in the mud, when your own mother wouldn’t know you, and drove him around in her car keeping the top down because she was proud of him and wanted to show everybody that she was Christian Darling’s girl. She bought him crazy presents because her father was rich, watches, pipes, humidors, an icebox for beer for his room, curtains, wallets, a fifty-dollar dictionary.
“You’ll spend every cent your old man owns,” Darling protested once when she showed up at his rooms with seven different packages in her arms and tossed them onto the couch.
“Kiss me,” Louise said, “and shut up.”
“Do you want to break your poor old man?” “I don’t mind. I want to buy you presents.”
“Why.?” “It makes me feel good. Kiss me. I don’t know why. Did you know that you’re an important figure?” “Yes,” Darling said gravely.
“When I was waiting for you at the library yesterday two girls saw you coming and one of them said to the other, `That’s Christian Darling. He’s an important figure.”‘ “You’re a liar.”
“I’m in love with an important figure.”
“Still, why the hell did you have to give me a forty-pound dictionary?” “I wanted to make sure,” Louise said, that you had a token of my esteem. I wanted to smother you in tokens of my esteem.”
Fifteen years ago.
They’d married when they got out of college. There’d been other women for him, but all casual and secret, more for curiosity’s sake, and vanity, women who’d thrown themselves at him and flattered him, a pretty mother at a summer camp for boys, an old girl from his home town who’d suddenly blossomed into a coquette, a friend of Louise’s who had dogged him grimly for six months and had taken advantage of the two weeks that Louise went home when her mother died. Perhaps Louise had known, but she’d kept quiet, loving him completely, filling his rooms with presents, religiously watching him battling with the big Swedes and Polacks on the line of scrimmage on Saturday afternoons, making plans for marrying him and living with him in New York and going with him there to the night clubs, the theaters, the good restaurants, being proud of him in advance, tall, white-teethed, smiling, large, yet moving lightly, with an athlete’s grace, dressed in evening clothes, approvingly eyed by magnificently dressed and famous women in theater lobbies, with Louise adoringly at his side.
Her father, who manufactured inks, set up a New York office for Darling to manage and presented him with three hundred accounts, and they lived on Beekman Place with a view of the river with fifteen thousand dollars a year between them, because everybody was buying everything in those days, including ink. They saw all the shows and went to all the speakeasies and spent their fifteen thousand dollars a year and in the afternoons Louise went to the art galleries and the matinees of the more serious plays that Darling didn’t like to sit through and Darling slept with a girl who danced in the chorus of ________and with the wife of a man who owned three copper mines. Darling played squash three times a week and remained as solid as a stone barn and Louise never took her eyes off him when they were in the same room together, watching him with a secret, miser’s smile, with a trick of coming over to him in the middle of a crowded room and saying gravely, in a low voice, “You’re the handsomest man I’ve ever seen in my whole life.
Want a drink?” Nineteen twenty-nine came to Darling and to his wife and father-in-law, the maker of inks, just as it came to everyone else. The father-in-law waited until _____and then blew his brains out and when Darling went to Chicago to see what the books of the firm looked like he found out all that was left were debts and three or four gallons of unbought ink.
“Please, Christian,” Louise said, sitting in their neat Beekman Place apartment, with a view of the river and prints of paintings by Dufy and Braque and Picasso on the wall, “please, why do you want to start drinking at two o’clock in the afternoon?” “I have nothing else to do,” Darling said, putting down his glass, emptied of its fourth drink. “Please pass the whisky.”
Louise filled his glass. “Come take a walk with me,” she said. “We’ll walk along the river.”
“I don’t want to walk along the river,” Darling said, squinting intensely at the prints of paintings by Dufy, Braque and Picasso.
“We’ll walk along Fifth Avenue.”
“I don’t want to walk along Fifth Avenue.”
“Maybe,” Louise said gently, “you’d like to come with me to some art galleries. There’s an exhibition by a man named Klee……
“I don’t want to go to any art galleries. I want to sit here and drink Scotch whisky,” Darling said. “Who the hell hung these goddam pictures up on the wall?” “I did,” Louise said. “I hate them.”
“I’ll take them down,” Louise said.
“Leave them there. It gives me something to do in the afternoon. I can hate them.” Darling took a long swallow. “Is that the way people paint these days?” “Yes, Christian. Please don’t drink any more.” “Do you like painting like that?” “Yes, dear.” “Really?” “Really.”
Darling looked carefully at the prints once more. “Little Louise Tucker. The middle-western beauty. I like pictures with horses in them. Why should you like pictures like that?” “I just happen to have gone to a lot of galleries in the last few years . . .” “Is that what you do in the afternoon?” “That’s what I do in the afternoon,” Louise said. “I drink in the afternoon.”
Louise kissed him lightly on the top of his head as he sat there squinting at the pictures on the wall, the glass of whisky held firmly in his hand. She put on her coat and went out without saying another word.
When she came back in the early evening, she had a job on a woman’s fashion magazine.
They moved downtown and Louise went out to work every morning and Darling sat home and drank and Louise paid the bills as they came up. She made believe she was going to quit work as soon as Darling found a job, even though she was taking over more responsibility day by day at the magazine, interviewing authors, picking painters for the illustrations and covers, getting actresses to pose for pictures, going out for drinks with the right people, making a thousand new friends whom she loyally introduced to Darling.
“I don’t like your hat,” Darling said, once, when she came in in the evening and kissed him, her breath rich with Martinis.
“What’s the matter with my hat, Baby?” she asked, running her fingers through his hair. “Everybody says it’s very smart.”
“It’s too damned smart,” he said. “It’s not for you. It’s for a rich, sophisticated woman of thirty-five with admirers.”
Louise laughed. “I’m practicing to be a rich, sophisticated woman of thirtyfive with admirers,” she said.
He stared soberly at her. “Now, don’t look so grim, Baby. It’s still the same simple little wife under the hat.”
She took the hat off, threw it into a comer, sat on his lap. “See? Homebody Number One.”
“Your breath could run a train,” Darling said, not wanting to be mean, but talking out of boredom, and sudden shock at seeing his wife curiously a stranger in a new hat, with a new expression in her eyes under the little brim, secret, confident, knowing.
Louise tucked her head under his chin so he couldn’t smell her breath. “I had to take an author out for cocktails,” she said. “He’s a boy from the Ozark Mountains and he drinks like a fish. He’s a Communist.”
“What the hell is a Communist from the Ozarks doing writing for a woman’s fashion magazine?” Louise chuckled. “The magazine business is getting all mixed up these days. The publishers want to have a foot in every camp. And anyway, you can’t find an author under seventy these days who isn’t a Communist.”
“I don’t think I like you to associate with all those people, Louise,” Darling said. “Drinking with them.”
“He’s a very nice, gentle boy,” Louise said. “He reads Emest Dowson.” “Who’s Emest Dowson?” Louise patted his arm, stood up, fixed her hair. “He’s an English poet.” Darling felt that somehow he had disappointed her. “Am I supposed to know who Emest Dowson is?” “No, dear. I’d better go in and take a bath.”
After she had gone, Darling went over to the comer where the hat was lying and picked it up. It was nothing, a scrap of straw, a red flower, a veil, meaningless on his big hand, but ___his wife’s head a signal of something . . . big city, smart and knowing women drinking and dining with men other than their husbands, conversation about things a normal man wouldn’t know much about, Frenchmen who painted as though they used their elbows instead of brushes, composers who wrote whole symphonies without a single melody in them, writers who knew all about politics and women who knew all about writers, the movement of the proletariat, Marx, somehow mixed up with five-dollar dinners and the best looking women in America and fairies who made them laugh and half-sentences immediately understood and secretly hilarious and wives who called their husbands “Baby.” He put the hat down, a scrap of straw and a red flower, and a little veil. He drank some whisky straight and went into the bathroom where his wife was lying deep in her bath, singing to herself and smiling from time to time like a little girl, paddling the water gently with her hands, sending up a slight spicy fragrance from the bath salts she used.
He stood over her, looking down at her. She smiled up at him, her eyes half closed, her body pink and shimmering in the warm, scented water. All over again, with all the old suddenness, he was hit deep inside him with the knowledge of how beautiful she was, how much he needed her.
“I came in here,” he said, “to tell you I wish you wouldn’t call me’Baby.”‘ She looked up at him from the bath, her eyes quickly full of sorrow, halfunderstanding what he meant. He knelt and put his arms around her, his sleeves plunged heedlessly in the water, his shirt and jacket soaking wet as he clutched her wordlessly, holding her crazily tight, crushing her breath from her, kissing her desperately, searchingly, regretfully.
He got jobs after that, selling real estate and automobiles, but somehow, although he had a desk with his name on a wooden wedge on it, and he went to the office religiously at nine each morning, he never managed to sell anything and he never made any money.
Louise was made assistant editor, and the house was always full of strange men and women who talked fast and got angry on abstract subjects like mural painting, novelists, labor unions. Negro short-story writers drank Louise’s liquor, and a lot of Jews, and big solemn men with scarred faces and knotted hands who talked slowly but clearly about picket lines and battles with guns and leadpipe at mine-shaft-heads and in front of factory gates. And Louise moved among them all, confidently, knowing what they were talking about, with opinions that they listened to and argued about just as though she were a man. She knew everybody, condescended to no one, devoured books that Darling had never heard of, walked along the streets of the city, excited, at home, soaking in all the million tides of New York without fear, with constant wonder.
Her friends liked Darling and sometimes he found a man who wanted to get off in the comer and talk about the new boy who played fullback for Princeton, and the decline of the double wing-back, or even the state of the stock market, but for the most part he sat on the edge of things, solid and quiet in the high storm of words. “The dialectics of the situation . . . The theater has been given over to expert jugglers … Picasso? What man has a right to paint old bones and collect ten thousand dollars for them? … I stand firmly behind Trotsky … Poe was the last American critic. When he died they put lilies on the grave of American criticism. I don’t say this because they panned my last book, but . . .”
Once in a while he caught Louise looking soberly and consideringly at him through the cigarette smoke and the noise and he avoided her eyes and found an excuse to get up and go into the kitchen for more ice or to open another bottle.
“Come on,” Cathal Flaherty was saying, standing at the door with a girl, “you’ve got to come down and see this. It’s down on Fourteenth Street, in the old Civic Repertory, and you can only see it on Sunday nights and I guarantee you’ll come out of the theater singing.” Flaherty was a big young Irishman with a broken nose who was the lawyer for a longshoreman’s union, and he had been hanging around the house for six months on and off, roaring and shutting everybody else up when he got in an argument. “It’s a new play, __________ _____ __it’s about taxi-drivers.”
“Odets,” the girl with Flaherty said. “It’s by a guy named Odets.” “I never heard of him,” Darling said.
“He’s a new one,” the girl said.
“It’s like watching a bombardment,” Flaherty said. “I saw it last Sunday night. You’ve got to see it.”
“Come on, Baby,” Louise said to Darling, excitement in her eyes already. “We’ve been sitting in the Sunday Times all day, this’ll be a great change.” “I see enough taxi-drivers every day,” Darling said, not because he meant that, but because he didn’t like to be around Flaherty, who said things that made Louise laugh a lot and whose judgment she accepted on almost every subject. “Let’s go to the movies.”
“You’ve never seen anything like this before,” Flaherty said. “He wrote this play with a baseball bat.”
“Come on,” Louise coaxed, “I bet it’s wonderful.”
“He has long hair,” the girl with Flaherty said. “Odets. I met him at a party. He’s an actor. He didn’t say a goddam thing all night.”
“I don’t feel like going down to Fourteenth Street,” Darling said, wishing Flaherty and his girl would get out. “It’s gloomy.”
“Oh, hell!” Louise said loudly. She looked coolly at Darling, as though she’d just been introduced to him and was making up her mind about him, and not very favorably. He saw her looking at him, knowing there was something new and dangerous in her face and he wanted to say something, but Flaherty was there and his damned girl, and anyway, he didn’t know what to say.
“I’m going,” Louise said, getting her coat. “I don’t think Fourteenth Street is gloomy.”
“I’m telling you,” Flaherty was saying, helping her on with her coat, “it’s the Battle of Gettysburg, in Brooklynese.”
“Nobody could get a word out of him,” Flaherty’s girl was saying as they went through the door. “He just sat there all night.”
The door closed. Louise hadn’t said good night to him. Darling walked around the room four times, then sprawled out on the sofa, on top of the Sunday Times. He lay there for five minutes looking at the ceiling, thinking of Flaherty walking down the street talking in that booming voice, between the girls, holding their arms.
Louise had looked wonderful. She’d washed her hair in the afternoon and it had been very soft and light and clung close to her head as she stood there angrily putting her coat on. Louise was getting prettier every year, partly because she knew by now how pretty she was, and made the most of it.
“Nuts,” Darling said, standing up. “Oh, nuts.”
He put on his coat and went down to the nearest bar and had five drinks off by himself in a comer before his money ran out.
The years since then had been foggy and downhill. Louise had been nice to him, and in a way, loving and kind, and they’d fought only once, when he said he was going to vote for Landon. (“Oh, Christ,” she’d said, “doesn’t anything happen inside your head? Don’t you read the papers? The penniless Republican!”) She’d been sorry later and apologized for hurting him, but apologized as she might to a child. He’d tried hard, had gone grimly to the art galleries, the concert halls, the bookshops, trying to gain on the trail of his wife, but it was no use. He was bored, and none of what he saw or heard or dutifully read made much sense to him and finally he gave it up. He had thought, many nights as he ate dinner alone, knowing that Louise would come home late and drop silently into bed without explanation, of getting a divorce, but he knew the loneliness, the hopelessness, of not seeing her again would be too much to take. So he was good, completely devoted, ready at all times to go any place with her, do anything she wanted. He even got a small job, in a broker’s office and paid his own way, bought his own liquor.
Then he’d been offered a job of going from college to college as a tailor’s representative. “We want a man,” Mr. Rosenberg had said, “who as soon as you look at him, you say, ‘There’s a university man.”‘ Rosenberg had looked approvingly at Darling’s broad shoulders and well-kept waist, at his carefully brushed hair and his honest, wrinkleless face. “Frankly, Mr. Darling, I am willing to make you a proposition. I have inquired about you, you are favorably known on your old campus. I understand you were in the backfield with Alfred Diederich.”
Darling nodded. “Whatever happened to him?” “He is walking around in a cast for seven years now. An iron brace. He played professional football and they broke his neck for him.”
Darling smiled. That, at least, had turned out well.
“Our suits are an easy product to sell, Mr. Darling,” Rosenberg said. “We have a handsome, custom-made garment. What has Brooks Brothers got that we haven’t got? A name. No more.”
“I can make fifty-sixty dollars a week,” Darling said to Louise that night. “And expenses. I can save some money and then come back to New York and really get started here.”
“Yes, Baby,” Louise said.
“As it is,” Darling said carefully, “I can make it back here once a month, and holidays and the summer.
We can see each other often.”
“Yes, Baby.” He looked at her face, lovelier now at thirty-five than it had ever been before, but fogged over now as it had been for five years with a kind of patient, kindly, remote boredom.
“What do you say?” he asked. “Should I take it?” Deep within him he hoped fiercely, longingly, for her to say, “No, Baby, you stay right here,” but she said, as he knew she’d say, “I think you’d better take it.”
He nodded. He had to get up and stand with his back to her, looking out the window, because there were things plain on his face that she had never seen in the fifteen years she’d known him. “Fifty dollars is a lot of money,” he said. “I never thought I’d ever see fifty dollars again.” He laughed. Louise laughed, too.
Christian Darling sat on the frail green grass of the practice field. The shadow of the stadium had reached out and covered him. In the distance the lights of the university shone a little mistily in the light haze of evening. Fifteen years. Flaherty even now was calling for his wife, buying her a drink, filling whatever bar they were in with that voice of his and that easy laugh. Darling half-closed his eyes, almost saw the boy fifteen years ago reach for the pass, slip the halfback, go skittering lightly down the field, his knees high and fast and graceful, smiling to himself because he knew he was going to get past the safety man. That was the high point, Darling thought, fifteen years ago, on an autumn afternoon, twenty years old and far from death, with the air coming easily into his lungs, and a deep feeling inside him that he could do anything, knock over anybody, outrun whatever had to be outrun. And the shower after and the three glasses of water and the cool night air on his damp head and Louise sitting hatless in the open car with a smile and the first kiss she ever really meant. The high point, an eighty-yard run in the practice, and a girl’s kiss and everything after that a decline. Darling laughed. He had practiced the wrong thing, perhaps. He hadn’t practiced for 1929 and New York City and a girl who would turn into a woman. Somewhere, he thought, there must have been a point where she moved up to me, was even with me for a moment, when I could have held her hand, if I’d known, held tight, gone with her. Well, he’d never known. Here he was on a playing field that was fifteen years away and his wife was in another city having dinner with another and better man, speaking with him a different, new language, a language nobody had ever taught him.
Darling stood up, smiled a little, because if he didn’t smile he knew the tears would come. He looked around him. This was the spot. O’Connor’s pass had come sliding out just to here … the high point. Darling put up his hands, felt all over again the flat slap of the ball. He shook his hips to throw off the halfback, cut back inside the center, picked his knees high as he ran gracefully over two men jumbled on the ground at the line of scrimmage, ran easily, gaining speed, for ten yards, holding the ball lightly in his two hands, swung away from the halfback diving at him, ran, swinging his hips in the almost girlish manner of a back in a broken field, tore into the safety man, his shoes drumming heavily on the turf, stiff-armed, elbow locked, pivoted, raced lightly and exultantly for the goal line.
It was only after he had sped over the goal line and slowed to a trot that he saw the boy and girl sitting together on the turf, looking at him wonderingly. He stopped short, dropping his arms, “I … ” he said, gasping a little, though his condition was, fine, and the run hadn’t winded him. “I-once I played here.”
The boy and the girl said nothing. Darling laughed embarrassedly, looked hard at them sitting there, close to each other, shrugged, turned and went toward his hotel, the sweat breaking out on his face and running down into his collar.